Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Eberhard Schoener - Meditation

Eberhard Schoener
Meditation


Released 1973 on Ariola
Reviewed by aether, 10/08/2012ce


Eberhard Schoener had, by 1973, made a couple of albums for Ariola, including the avowedly strange Destruction of Harmony in 1971, a proto-postmodern, irony-laced deconstruction of the classics that took as much of a cue from Stockhausen’s Hymnen, as it did Switched on Bach.

But after “a lengthy trip to Asia” (oh yes! one of those!) the idea for Meditation had come to Schoener, in what must have been a blazing Damascian white-light of revelatory gnostic visionary insight - if the results are anything to go by!

Of course, Schoener was good friends with the mystic, Florian Fricke, and would have, of course, heard the first two Popol Vuh lp’s – Affenstunde and In den Garten Pharoas, perhaps the nearest stylistic signposts we have for this lengthy piece of mantric musical nirvana.

In particular, the heady, ghostly, spectral musings of the title track of “Pharoas…” is close to the darkened electronic musings on offer here. Released in 1973, the LP is made up of two huge, gradually unfolding, electro-drone mantras – Music for Meditation I and Music for Meditation II. The first side begins amidst synthesised white-noise waves crashing on the shore, the underwater vibe remaining, as a bell-tone submarine pulse echoes as it passes by. Gothic cello-like synthesiser warbles intone at ominous intervals. It reminds one a lot of “On the Way” and “Through Pains to Heaven” (from side 2 of Popol Vuh’s Nosferatu soundtrack) as the notes curl and strain around the ever-present electronic pulse. Zeit might be another obvious signpost here. From time to time huge swells of synthesised white noise swirl like fizzing breaking foam around the droning notes. The trance goes on – as the track barely changes for 17 minutes – allowing the listener time to let their mind drift and buffet against the shores of this glistening rare jewel of a track.

Side Two – although ostensibly another 17-minute electronic drone piece - has slightly more to it in terms of sonic components and is definitely the artistic peak of the LP. Here the Eastern flavour is a little more apparent, as resonating synthesiser notes unfurl like sun-drenched spheres of birthing light. Filters are skilfully manned to create a dry, arid solarscape of sound. It sounds like the musical equivalent of sun-blindness or heat exhaustion – but for the listener it’s a blissful, nurturing sound. Here and there gongs are gently struck and cooler, more spectral voices are heard – a distant woman-voiced lunar ululation calling from afar.

It’s an incredibly peaceful and hypnotic 17 minutes – with similarities to other abstracted sides of cosmic awe – including the aforementioned Popol Vuh’s early Liberty/Pilz sides and Nosferatu OST, Stomu Yamashita’s Red Buddha LP and “Mandala” (from Man from the East) and Zeit-era Tangerine Dream. A monolithic, pulsating, droning, glistening,primal slab of Kosmiche!

Aether


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